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Old 06-17-2012, 06:35 PM   #1
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Airstream Suggestion Box

There are always threads about QC, workmanship, design and corporate policies. Sometimes on these threads there are suggestions about how to improve Airstreams, they get lost amongst the frustrations.

Let's focus on suggestions to improve them on this thread. Maybe Airstream will engage and tell us what they think and whether they will adopt the ideas.

So, I'll start:

To produce a waterproof trailer is not all that difficult. Cars and trucks don't leak, so Airstreams don't have to either. Here's how:

1. Attach roof items with 2 sided extra strong tape. This stuff works. The number of screw holes would be significantly less.

2. Any other penetrations should be sealed with rubber (or rubber like substance) strips. You've started to do this with courtesy lights and at the rear bump compartment, but it can be done everywhere.

3. Use rubber seals under the overlapping outer skim panels.

4. Will bolts and nuts seal better than rivets? Stainless steel bolts with square drive and round heads will look like rivets. Check this out; maybe labor costs would be less.

5. Keep rivet guns clean so rivets are not scored and set gun with less power so dimples do not appear in the outer skin. Both these things may reduce failed clear coat and corrosion.

6. Abandon the skylight—one less place to leak and a lot of people don't like it (too much sun and heat, or loss of heat in cold climates).

7. Abandon panos in bedrooms—are corner windows really necessary in a room usually curtained? This would save money, reduce chance of water penetration, make for stronger trailer, and be a trade off for any expenses of better seals.

8. Don't use flat bottomed items on curves—unless a seal that curves on one side and is flat on the other.

9. Lens for lights on cars do not pop out when squeezed—they are screwed down and sealed and don't leak. Do the same.

10. Awning supports are installed over a seam making it almost impossible to seal properly. Move one or the other. WHen water runs off the roof and comes down at the ends of the awning, it streams down on the awning supports making them especially vulnerable. A rain gutter would help.

A water tight RV would be a rarity and make Airstream innovative as befits a "premium" brand. But the promise must be followed with good quality seals, not the cheapest made.

More ideas? Mods, move this if there's a better place for it.

Gene
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Old 06-17-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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I would add, don't use radius bottomed items (marking lights) on flat surfaces. This not only catches my eye it also gouges the aluminum along the edges, especially on the tail point of the teardrop.

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Old 06-17-2012, 07:02 PM   #3
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If you ask me I don't think AS want's there trailer to last as long as the vintage ones do. So over the long run they will sell more units. Just like the car makers.

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Old 06-17-2012, 07:17 PM   #4
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Hi, make some sort of a curved rib box, out of aluminum, to hold the shape of the 14" X 14" holes in the roof for the vents. This would hold the shape of the inner and outer skins in place so there would not be any pools in this area on the roof. This would also help prevent roof leaks. This would also give you two sheets of aluminum for the screws instead of one. The vents could also be installed with two sided tape, like side mouldings on cars. No screws needed or maybe one in each corner of the veny housing.
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:33 PM   #5
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Get rid of the skill/chop saws for cutting out windows, etc. Has Airstream never heard of CAD/CAM? It would be more efficient and consistent. I would not be surprised if a side effect was less leaks and ultimately a better product with a happier customer base.
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
Get rid of the skill/chop saws for cutting out windows, etc. Has Airstream never heard of CAD/CAM? It would be more efficient and consistent. I would not be surprised if a side effect was less leaks and ultimately a better product with a happier customer base.
Already done!
I watched it in action a couple of weeks ago.....
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:16 PM   #7
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The very first thing I did....replace ALL exterior fasteners with stainless.

Do not use clear-coated exterior components, tail-light bezels, battery door frames, door hinges etc. They are usually in rough shape by the time the trailer get's to the dealer's lot.
They are not that hard to maintain, a little polish and wax will do the trick.

BTW...the after-the-fact correction was not so easy.

Bob
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:30 PM   #8
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I would like to see a suggestion box on the Airstream.com website. A place where Airstream owners could make suggestions or whatever comments they need to make. A place that the company read regularly. A private suggestion box. I made this suggestion at the owner feedback forum and posted about it here earlier.
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:48 PM   #9
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Airstream has absolutely no interest in any feedback about their products from people on Air Forums - unless it is high praise. One of the problems now is that there is virtually no communication between the service and production facilities at JC. If they don't even bother talking to each other to find out what is going on why would they care what we think?
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Al - K4GLU View Post
Airstream has absolutely no interest in any feedback about their products from people on Air Forums - unless it is high praise. One of the problems now is that there is virtually no communication between the service and production facilities at JC. If they don't even bother talking to each other to find out what is going on why would they care what we think?
I am curious how you know this? You have worked there? Someone you know does? This makes no sense to me. I'd have bet that Airstream knows exactly how much money is spent on every one of their products while under warranty. Funny, they must not pay those bills, perhaps the service center people work for free? Maybe other manufacturers donate supplies to be used in the warranty repairs?

This is the problem with the Internet in general. What might be a constructive list of legitimate issues quickly becomes a .........

I should know better
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
I am curious how you know this? You have worked there? Someone you know does? This makes no sense to me. I'd have bet that Airstream knows exactly how much money is spent on every one of their products while under warranty. Funny, they must not pay those bills, perhaps the service center people work for free? Maybe other manufacturers donate supplies to be used in the warranty repairs?

This is the problem with the Internet in general. What might be a constructive list of legitimate issues quickly becomes a .........

I should know better
Bruce
Just what are you attempting to imply here? I've been told that at Airstream - on two different occasions by the guy who gives the tours who worked at Airstream for many years and also by one of the service people. I don't make statements just for the sake of making them.

Airstream probably does know what warranty work costs them - but that doesn't mean there is feedback from the service people to the production people to try and control the problems. As for parts inventory the service/production inventories are completely separate. I'm told production uses a "just in time" inventory system. One of the things that was replaced on my trailer in May was the thermostat. They had to get one from production because service had none of the new digital ones in stock and I was told by the guy working on my trailer that he wasn't sure they'd be able to get one - and as it turned out they might as well not have since the new one didn't solve the problem. The only thing that might give Airstream/Thor a kick in the butt is if their sales started to suffer due to poor quality - and that hasn't happened yet. I keep thinking the filiform problem is going to catch up with them one of these days but it hasn't yet.
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:43 PM   #12
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Only 8 posts and already this thread has been hijacked.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:06 PM   #13
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Airstream will never engage if we are flaming each other and them.

Suggestions to improve the product please.

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Old 06-17-2012, 10:19 PM   #14
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Met w sales manager

While at Airstream for Alumapalooza the very nice Sales Manager met w us at our trailer and we showed him all the improvements we made, especially those regarding storage. He was so impressed he took lots of photos and was going to see about getting some of them implemented in future rigs. Additionally we talked about a better layout for the 23' and he had us draw a quick sketch of a possible change which he liked and was going to take to engineering. Also, reps from their staff had two seminar Q & A periods. One for the men and one for the women. Lots of ?'s were asked and lots of comments made. We observed them taking lots of notes. So, bottom line, yes they are interested in our suggestions.
Oh, I am going to take photos too and post them here.
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